Stories of Addiction and Recovery from Tennessee

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Hi, my name is Bethany, and I'm a recovering heroin addict and alcoholic, but that isn't the only “title” I have. I'm also a recovery advocate, a Narcan trainer and educator, a student, and an amazing mother, to an even more amazing little boy with autism. It wasn't too long ago, none of these names would have suit me. I was a hopeless, helpless drug addict, who wanted a better life but didn't know how, or have the resources to even begin. I knew my baby deserved a better life, than that I was capable of giving him, in my present state. I got on the internet and researched treatment centers for women and children, and found Renewal House. I went to detox, out of state, and came immediately to Nashville. I have been clean and sober ever since. That was December 13, 2012. I stayed 6 months in the treatment center and still rent an apartment from them today.

I am working to finish up my degree in Social Work, so that I may work in, or perhaps even have a treatment center of my own one day. I have a Facebook page, called Memphis’ War on Heroin. It's the largest of its type in the state, offering resources and support to those suffering with the disease of addiction. I spend more time trying to find detox beds and placement in treatment, than I care to admit. I spend more time doing these things than I do on school, sometimes sending people out of state. Some die before we can get them placed. Are you aware that 122 people died of heroin overdose in Memphis in 2016? They can only be recorded as heroin overdoses, if that is the only substance found. The death toll is actually much higher. There were 1700 doses of Narcan administered in first responder calls for overdoses. Imagine the death toll if not for the Narcan!). These are only the stats from Memphis. Fatality numbers are even higher in Nashville.

I guess I'm writing to impress upon you, the great lack of and necessity of resources and funding for addicts. Addicts, who like me, are also mothers, daughters, sons, and fathers. We can and DO recover, and not only do we recover, we go on to help others do the same. We become productive, useful members of society. We can only do that if we are alive and given a chance at treatment. I am also with a non-profit called Tennessee Overdose Prevention. In the last couple weeks, 2 lives have been saved, by Narcan that I distributed to a state funded facility. Had it not been there, those boys would have died. That Narcan comes out of our pockets, with no help for funding. There's only 2, maybe 3 state funded facilities for women with children. Had I not found Renewal House, I wouldn't have been alive, myself. Because I was able to get clean, two more people lived. I don't know about you fellas, but I'm in the business of saving lives. We can't do it without funding and resources. I don't get paid for any of the work I do. That's not what I want. I want the facilities to be there to refer to. I would also like for non-profits like Tennessee Overdose Prevention to be able to continue to save lives. None of these things can be done without your help. Lastly, I want to thank you for the passing of the Good Samaritan Law. At least 356 lives were saved, in Memphis alone, due to that law. Thanks for your time.

Bethany Morse